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From Where Does Kansas Take Its Shots?

Looking at how often the 2013 Jayhawks get to the rim

Jamie Squire

Beyond Ben McLemore (and probably a healthy Elijah Johnson) it is safe to say that this year's Kansas team isn't dynamic on offense. But a lack of dynamism does not mean a lack of quality shots. To the contrary, Kansas ranks 21st in 2 point percentage and in eFG, and they are on pace to turn it over at the lowest rate of the Bill Self era.

The two best spots to take shots from are at the rim and from beyond the arc. At the rim is obvious: it is the closest shot and thus the easiest to make (assuming there is no Jeff Withey between you and the basket). Plus there are additional benefits, such as drawing fouls. The advantage to three point shots is that, while they are farther out, they are worth more points (duh) than a two point jumper. And, while most players shoot at a higher percentage on two point jumpers, it is not high enough to justify taking those shots over a three pointer.*

*quick example: if player A shoots 45% - a good number - on two point jumpers, and takes 20 of them, that's 9 makes for 18 points. In order to earn those same 18 points from three pointers, he only needs to make 6 out of 20, or 30% of his threes, a decidedly low percentage

So when looking at the graph below, pay special attention to the people in the top right quadrant (or, alternatively, players on the top left and bottom right), as those are the ones who maximize their point scoring opportunities. They're labeled on the graph, but big men should be towards the bottom right, the Naadir Tharpe's of the world should be at the top left, and ideally Elijah Johnson and Ben McLemore - two guards who can shoot it but have the athleticism to get to the rim - should be as close to the top right corner as possible.

Thanks to hoop-math for the data.


A few notes:

  • It is amazing to look at how efficient McLemore has been from the field and then look at how inefficiently he has been taking his shots. And while the obvious counter is to say that he is excellent at those two point jumpers, he is only shooting 36% on those two point jumpers, the same percentage as Kevin Young
  • It is no surprise given how he's shooting that Travis Releford is getting a lot of attempts at the rim and from three, taking only 12% of his shots as two point jumpers. Shooting 57% on those doesn't hurt either.
  • Withey's dot is a bit misleading, as most of his two point jumpers have been while the game was out of hand, and whether he has been doing it just to have fun or to show off for the NBA scouts I have no problem with it
  • No surprise that Tharpe, White and EJ have taken the most threes, but of the three I think Elijah is the player whom we all most want to see get to the rim a bit more.
  • Has Kevin Young been the most efficient Jayhawk? Other than Releford, he may be. He is taking nearly 80% of his shots at the rim, although he is, believe it or not, fourth on the team in FG% at the rim. He's no slouch as it is, but if he gets some more bunnies to drop we could see a big spike in his scoring.